If your home 'hood is Forest Gate no doubt you've clocked the arresting art deco style of the Trebor sweet factory constructed over a century ago. Since ceasing trade and closing in 1981, this local landmark has been converted into flats which is home to furniture designer James Stickley and his home studio space.

You may have already come across James via fantasy property paradise The Modern House or in many of the local haunts in the E7 environ including The Forest's community branch Tracks where we connected over a shared love of music and appreciation of furniture design.

Striking a balance between bold tones, industrial influences and a minimal aesthetic, James shows us how his conversion compliments loft-like living in his minimalist sanctuary.

James Stickley

What's home life for you?

Home life for me very much depends on what work I have on at the time. I work some really long hours sometimes with lots of people. So when I have a big project on, I have very little time at home.

My home is a bit of a sanctuary from the outside world so I really enjoy getting home, shutting the door and being away from everything.

Like everyone I work from home sometimes now too and I try to keep that to a separate area of my flat. The place is completely open plan but I have really lovely office space tucked around the corner from the main living space. I can leave my work there and move to another area of the flat to switch off. My desk is also in a prime position to take in the views across northeast London.

When I’m not working, I take full advantage of being able to enjoy my home, lots of loafing around and relaxing.

How have you made your house your home?

When I moved in, I made a conscious choice that I wanted to design as much as possible in my flat. So everything is made just for me and to my tastes. A majority of the furniture is my own designs. Some are previous designs and some were designed specifically for this flat. Although I make and sell versions of all of them for other people, it really makes the place feel like my space.

I also have several seating areas that make the place really comfy and homely. I use these at different times of the day and for different activities.


Describe your colour palette...

Blue and grey mainly with hits of other bright colours.

I love the use of colour and how the use of it can change the look or meaning of something.

Due to the nature of the space, I opted for a lot of white walls but the have added little bold pops of colour as doing the whole thing in any colour would have been too much.

I have also used colour to ‘mark out’ different living zones with in the flat. The hallway is completely ultra marine blue, the kitchen and sofa areas are both different greige’s and the bedroom is a blue green. This divides the space up but also creates different almost Mondrian in style patterns, depending on where you are stood/sat.

Minimalist or maximalist? Be honest...

Minimalist at heart!

I try so hard to be minimalist but then sometimes I’m just not. My furniture is very minimalist but it also incorporates lots of colours and textures.

The images of my place probably say I am very minimalist but I removed so much stuff for the shoot so that my furniture designs are the main focus. In reality I have ended up hoarding loads of things.


Best bargain piece or treasured possession you'll never let go of?

The vintage G-plan chest of drawers. I picked them up for free on Gumtree. They needed a bit of love but they look great. I had never seen that range before and I really love their utilitarian look.

If money was no object, what would you do in your home?

I love my home but the one thing it is missing a bit of outdoor space. Therefore, I’d add a big balcony with big doors. More seating and lots of plants.

Plant policy both inside and outside?

A few sculptural ones inside, absolute jungle paradise outside.


Cats or Dogs?


Where are we most likely to bump into you out and about?

You’ll probably see me at the tube station travelling rush off to work. Ha!  But also cycling through West Ham park, having a working lunch at Ramble Cafe, Friday night down at Tracks and eating a Sunday Roast at the Boleyn Tavern.

Why should we move to Forest Gate?

Forest Gate has got a real community vibe. It has lots of things going on and more and more is starting to happen here. You have both the nature of the Wanstead Flats and the urbanness of the city on your doorstep.

Check out the Studio James Stickley furniture designs here and for for further updates follow @stickers_